10 Great Holiday Gift Ideas to Thank Clients, and Strengthen Your Ties to Them

The holidays are a great time to strengthen relationships with your clients. With Thanksgiving upon us and as the year-end holidays approach, it is an opportunity to thank clients for doing business with you so they feel appreciated.

Still, year after year, advisors usually struggle to come up with excellent ideas. Because they often wait until the last minute, advisors typically give something that delivers a lukewarm response. This holiday season go beyond the standard fruit basket or package of assorted cheeses. Here are ten gift ideas to delight your clients.

  1. Charitable donations.  For the person that has everything, a donation in their name to a local charity can provide a warm-fuzzy feeling like no other gift. Consider aligning your gift with the charity your clients might already be involved with. (This is my favorite idea, especially in an environment where charities are struggling to get by.)
  2. Homemade recipe book.  Ask your staff to provide their best recipes, then have them professionally designed and bound into a book to give to your clients. Provide the associate’s name and e-mail for each recipe so the clients can contact that person for more information or thank the source when they like how the food turns out.
  3. Picture frames.  Purchase frames upon which you can tactfully print or engrave your logo, possibly with a customized message. Then print pictures of each client from previous events and place them in the frames. An alternative option is to hire a cartoonist to draw your clients at your next event.
  4. Kid art.  Sponsor a local charity (e.g. an after-school program) that helps kids in your area. Pay for the supplies for a painting activity where you get to keep some of the artwork. Present the originals to your clients and let them know where it came from. Alternately, just borrow the art from the kids, scan it in and make calendars using the best pictures, one for each month.
  5. Special brews.  Hold a beer- or wine-making class where the clients get to take home what they make. Have special labels printed so they can remember who helped them make it.
  6. A safe.  Give a fire- and water-resistant safe to your clients for their important paperwork. That way, if disaster strikes, their information and documents will be protected.
  7. Sports gear. Provide a gift showing your clients’ favorite teams (e.g., a hat or blanket with your logo or name subtly stitched on it.) Or give them what they need to play their favorite sports (e.g. golf balls, again with your logo.)
  8. Books.  Know your clients’ interests and find a book on a topic that would appeal to them.  If your clients are from one region, find a local author to sign his or her book and even give a lecture on the topic at a sponsored event. Historical books or coffee-table books about a region are also a good idea. Make sure to inscribe a special message inside the cover.
  9. Music.  Survey your clients on what their favorite holiday songs are and make a CD with special labels and cases, listing the songs, artists and a special message from you. (Of course, make sure you’re not violating any copyright laws.)
  10. Pen sets.  If you give a high-end pen that writes well, it will likely become something the client uses over and over. This is especially good for an executive or business owner.

The Strategy Accompanying Your Gift

If you look at each of these 10 suggested clients gifts, there are five key strategies that

 

make them better than some other gift ideas, including:

  • More than one use. A gift that will get used or seen frequently is ideal, as it will trigger your clients to remember where it came from.
  • Not an advertisement.  Do not let your firm’s name or logo ruin the item, as you do not want the gift to end up in the trash. 
  • Discreet branding.  If you can tactfully include your name or logo, you can create more awareness. For example, if a clients’ friend sees your company name on something, they might ask about how the client received it, creating potential referral conversations and hopefully new leads.
  • Customized.  The more personalized the gift, the better.  To do this, the secret is to know your clients beyond their investments and financial plans.
  • Be original.  If you can positively differentiate yourself with a creative gift, it is likely you will create the “Wow!” factor.

Whatever you chose to give remember one thing…These gifts are what helps your clients feel like they aren’t just clients, but that they are also your friends.  I hope this article helps.

Happy giving, this holiday season!

Note:  when giving gifts, work with your compliance group to make sure gifts do not exceed industry regulations.

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